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Trouble with German Airbnb?

I am planning a low budget trip to Europe summer 2020 with my 14 (almost 15) year old son. I decided to use Airbnb for a majority of the trip but second guessing that in Munich. I contacted one Host and she asked to chat thru WhatsApp. She said that the German government has been enforcing strict rules and taxes over Airbnb hosts in order to stop non european tourist. I found articles supporting this. She asked if I would be ok with not using the site. She did not ask for money up front and gave me the address of the location.

I am wondering if anyone else has heard of this or knows anything else about this. I am leaning to the suspicious side, but again she has not asked for money. The worst that happens is we show up and have to find a hotel or sleep in the train station for the night, but I am not sure I want to risk that with my son along, I am all about adventure but that might just be a big risk.
I have looked up the recommend hotels I have seen on the forum, all booked. I want to stay IN old town idealy or just steps from in. I have a small budget and would like to not go over $600 for 3 nights. I am open to your insights and suggestions.

Posted by
23237 posts

So she gets you off the Airbnb platform and you lose all protection from the platform. Hasn't asked for money yet, but what will happen as you approach the date?

And if she is willing to cheat Airbnb and it sounds like cheats the taxes too, is there any chance she will want to cheat you too?

Do you really want to associate with somebody with those morals and sleep in her house?

Strict rules are good. No, as far as I am aware, the German government is not trying to stop non European tourists. That is, I'm afraid to say, hogwash.

They are trying to crack down on illegal rentals.

Posted by
11410 posts

Nigel pretty much nailed it. I wouldn't trust someone wanting you to circumvent a system designed to protect you, and I wouldn't trust that someone to be paying the taxes required of a host. Find another property within the Airbnb network.

I can't find anything at all about German government efforts to, "stop non european tourist" from renting. They don't want Munich residents not to be able to find affordable housing because too much stock has been converted to short-term holiday rentals, thus limiting units and driving up rents. This is a common problem in other European and U.S. cities.

https://www.cnet.com/news/europes-top-tourist-cities-lash-out-against-airbnb/

I've been through München Hauptbahnhof and it's OK for what it was designed for but you don't want to sleep in it, with or without a teenager.

Posted by
23237 posts

As you have looked through the Forum have you noticed the discussions about the Motel One chain? There are several of them in Munich including Sendlinger Tor which is spoken of a lot, with others.

I forgot that you only wanted 3 nights so I looked for 4 nights. I don't have your dates so I randomly chose 10-14 June which is part weekday and part weekend. Motel One cab do you for four nights for between 336€ and 376€ at most of their locations in Munich. For four nights. Three will be less. This is well inside your budget, and will have air conditioning and right in the middle of things. 11.50€ per person per night to add for breakfasts.

Did you look at the Uland?

If you share your dates I bet we can help.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your replies. To be clear I already felt suspicious about the whole, even though she is listed as a superhost and has the best reviews on Airbnb. I wanted to get the general opinion of some people who may have traveled a bit more recently or may be more aware of these types of issues in Europe.

I also would not sleep in the train station on purpose, I just meant its a place with a roof to hunker down for a few hours while I looked for a place to stay.

Munich is our last stop, we will arrive by train the 2nd of July 2020 and check out the 5th. I have an appointment at Rick Steves office in 2 weeks to go over trains/transportation. In 20 days we will travel Iceland, Scotland, 1 day in London, Paris and Munich. I have been to Europe several times, but not with my son or with this much travel that wasn't with a small group or a 'local'.

I will look into your suggestions :) thank you.

Posted by
295 posts

I would not deal with this person at all. Always go through the Air BnB website to communicate with hosts and to pay for your accommodation. Your gut is already telling you to be suspicious, trust it.

Posted by
23237 posts

I bet we can help with trains too, before the two weeks passes.

There are several experts here on transportation in Europe. Around a half dozen regulars or more with tons of German train knowledge, several with UK, several with Italy, several with France, and several with Spain.

We even have folks here with lots of experience to the East, Belgium, and Netherlands. People well travelled in Ireland and even Turkey and the "Stan"s.

How can we help?

Posted by
4668 posts

The reason many jurisdictions clamp down on AirBnb is that they harm the local housing market. You are a part of this injury if you use AirBnb. Many posters online have found the actual protections of the platform to be insufficient-cancellations, poor cleaning, angry neighbors, and more.

Posted by
3115 posts

I think the title of this thread is incorrect.

You don’t have a problem with Airbnb; the problem is with that woman who is hoping you are GULLIBLE to believe that the German government only mandates that European nationals can use Airbnb.

Come on! Why weren’t you laughing right away at such insipid stupidity? 😂😂😂

Posted by
3 posts

Insinuating and insulting, even in jest is not called for. If I was completely oblivious I would not have reached out and asked opinions. And by doing so letting others know what is happening and too be on the look out. I literally wanted confirmation of my gut instinct.

I am newer to Airbnb (booked 2 times locally in Washington State) and I only try to stay in owner occupied homes where they have a "private" area for guests. I was using it as an option in Europe so my son could experience a more authentic version of the places we are visiting. I hate being the obvious American in a fancy hotel. And I fully understand the issues with the housing market, I am part of that travesty in the Seattle area.
But this isn't really a space to get into the politics of it. I was just asking for some clarifications on current travel climate, back in the day you could zip off from one city to the other and trust the hospitality of people, I haven't been to Munich in 20 years. And this is the only city where I am having a hard time with proper accomidations.

For of those you offering train help, thank you! I will still go to the office appointment as I want my son to be part of the planning and cause I am making him contribute a little financially (I paid for my whole trip at 15). But the trains are whats tripping me up for sure. Here is the breakdown:
6/16 to Iceland
6/19 to Glasgow
we will need to get from the airport to Inveness 6/19 as I already have accommodations
6/22 to Edinburgh
6/26 to London
6/28 to Paris
7/2 to Munich

see why I need some serious help figuring out the trains and transportation! whew... I am crazy to spend 20 days doing this with my son... but it will be amazing!

Posted by
17607 posts

I really have trouble with the term "BnB" (as in AirBnb) in Germany. Whereas in the US, a BnB is often a "not-particularly-inexpensive" stay, where you have your own private bedroom suite, with bathroom, and in the morning, your host, who also lives in the home, prepares your breakfast, in Germany, most of the AirBnBs I've found are apartments with non-resident hosts. In Germany, such places are call "Ferienwohnungen" (vacation apartments), and there is no one there but you to prepare breakfast and other meals. Other than AirBnB rentals, Ferienwohnungen are pretty inexpensive.

The German equivalent of a US BnBs is called a Privatzimmer, and such places are usually inexpensive. These are usually a larger home, owned by the parents of a larger family whose children are grown and gone, and they have often remodeled to include bathrooms with each room. I love the cultural experience of staying in Privatzimmer, but, unfortunately, a true Privatzimmer is difficult to find in big cities like Munich.

Twice I've stayed in Ferienwohnungen in small towns, because they were relatively inexpensive (I paid €35/night for one on the Main river near Würzburg) and easier to find in small towns, but I doubt that I saved any money because, in addition to breakfast ingredients, I had to buy staples, such as coffee, eggs, sugar, butter, and milk, of which the normal purchase quantity was far more than I used, and I had to leave most of it behind. And I didn't use the kitchen for many dinners. I go to Germany, in part, to enjoy authentic German dishes, so I eat big meals at restaurants.

In that small town on the Main, there were a dozen or so FeWo listed on the town website, most for about €40 or less. The couple of Airbnbs I see listed now go for about twice as much, a lot of it for the Airbnb fee you pay on top of the rental fee.

Bottom line, I would not try to use an Airbnb in Munich. For less than $200 a night, you should be able to find lodging at a small Gasthaus/Pension in Munich, particularly if you are willing to share a room with your son. I have yet to stay at Pension Lindner, but I like to location, and people on this website who have stayed there have given it good reviews. It's in the old town, just a few blocks from Marienplatz (considered the center of town) and its S-Bahn station.

Unfortunately, the accommodations listing on Munich's town website is a captive of one of the booking websites, so rooms found that way are more expensive. There are some nice places to stay not listed by that booking site. You might find them using Google Maps, or ask people here if they have stayed at nice, less expensive places. There are some inside the old town.

Posted by
11676 posts

"Airbnb" is a registered trademark of Airbnb, Inc., a privately-held corporation headquartered in San Francisco. The term is often used in the generic sense to refer to any room or apartment offered for short-term rental by owner, and most people understand it that way, but technically it is incorrect.

Airbnb, Inc. has specific rules for hosts in Germany in general and Munich specifically, which one can read here:

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1239/munich

and here:

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1391/responsible-hosting-in-germany

Perhaps there was something in the owner's comment about taxes and regulations that was lost in translation, but the OP here was right to be suspicious.

There are lots of small guesthouses and pensions in Munich. Pension Lindner, suggested above, is a good option. Or Hotel am Viktualienmarkt, with rooms just over $200 next summer.

If the small places suggested in Rick's book are not available, I suspect that may be because they haven't opened up booking for next summer yet. Which ones did you contact without success?

Posted by
5531 posts

My Sicilian Air BnB host asked me to communicate with him on What’sApp which I did one time . Air BnB wants everything between renter and host on their app as a protection for the renter.

Posted by
844 posts

My hubby and I and another couple stayed at Pension Lindner in Munich for 3 nights. I can't quote you a price because I don't remember, but we loved the location and the owner/hostess. The rooms were immaculate, some bigger than others, but that was okay. On the day of departure we had to leave early in the morning due to an early flight. I told Marion the night before that we were leaving before breakfast because I didn't want her to count on us for food. When we got up she was cooking early and had gotten up early to serve us breakfast which I thought was above and beyond. I would stay there again in a heartbeat!

Whatever you decide, Have a Great Trip and trust your gut. Don't rent from the woman who was trying to get you to screw Air BNB

Your son will have a great time!

Mimi

Posted by
1888 posts

In Munich, in 2017, we stayed in Hostel 4You. It was 2 blocks from the Hauptbahnhof. We had a private room. It was 60/night for 2.

Posted by
2575 posts

I had a host in Madrid that I was emailing with through AirBnB. I was in the apartment and had some challenges with wifi, heat and a hot water boiler that broke. Because of the weak wifi, I had both a phone and tablet open and communication was complicated. I asked if we could use What'sApp and he said he was already using that - so his AirBnB account was accessible to What'sApp or else he figured out how to route it there. So, there are ways to satisfy both.
But she seems to be trying to circumvent the government taxes and rules and I suspect the may be meeting the maximum number of nights she is allowed to rent to travelers and trying some under the table work. If Germany asks for tourist taxes, it should be clearly listed on her AirBnB posting outlining what should paid, when and how. A quick check of other reputable hosts should have similar details.
I wouldn't book with her this trip, and I may be inclined to report the activity to AirBnB as there are clear host rules. Being a superhost comes with a higher level of vetting and so renters rely on that standing. She is abusing it.
Good luck with your planning and travels.

Posted by
57 posts

I travel solo a lot and am not a fan of AirBnb. I've stayed in them 3 times with varying experiences. Obviously, in large cities, the use of small apartments for tourist lodging is hurting the ability of locals to find reasonably sized and priced accommodation. There could be an event in Munich on your dates which is driving up hotel prices.

I recommend doing what I do. First, map out the activities you plan to do and access to public transport. Narrow down logical locations, then go to google maps to look for hotels and guest houses in that vicinity. This is something your son could help with a lot. Then look at hotel websites (not aggregators like Expedia or hotels dot com) for best rates. This takes a little longer and more effort, but will no doubt result in better options.

Regarding your train travel, about which you also asked, I normally have about a dozen train journeys in a typical trip (which is 6-7 weeks). My go-to resource for train travel, worldwide, is The Man in Seat 61. Mark Smith is a Brit who runs an excellent website, seat61 dot com. You'll literally find everything you possibly need to know there, including the latest information on the right websites to use for tickets. I book my train tickets individually and I try to buy on the day reservations open, which is usually about 90 days out from date of travel. Before I start buying train tickets or reserving hotels I notify my credit card bank, as the charges will be from European vendors. This lessens the problems of my card being declined when purchasing online. Also, it looks like you'll take the Eurostar, their bookings open further ahead and prices go up quickly. Those tickets should be the first ones you purchase. My other tip would be print your tickets when you make the booking to keep them organized. I could never trust keeping all my ticketing on my phone, too risky.

Finally, you have an ambitious but do-able itinerary for 3 weeks. Be SURE you travel light. May I suggest another resource for you, the Travel Fashion Girls group on Facebook. You'll find many ideas about luggage, wardrobe, packing, etc. in that group. When I found them I felt like I'd found my long-lost tribe, as I've been traveling for many years and never before met up with people just like me.

Posted by
74 posts

Be careful! I had a similiar conversation with a posting that was actually visable on AirBnb, but it was a scam. No money was requested up front...but I'm sure down the road it would have been.

Posted by
4668 posts

I have a different response to Kathy's excellent posting than even Kathy does. I refuse to use AirBnB because of their fully documented past history of deceit with regulators, and the measurable harm they have caused to the local housing market in big cities. I live in a wealthy suburb in New Jersey, median value single-family price around $700,000. But the township committee has, without opposition, prohibited any short-term rentals because of the "party-house" problem and the effect on neighbors and property values of short term turnover.

Posted by
5229 posts

In Munich we stay at Hotel Brecherspitze, about a 10-minute tram ride from the Hauptbahnhof. Three nights with breakfast for two people with a private bathroom should be about €300, even less if you take a shared bathroom (which we always do.) Great breakfast, too!

Posted by
17607 posts

I have looked up the recommend hotels I have seen on the forum, all booked.

Have you looked at Pension Lindner (also recommended on this forum)? It's in the old town, close to Marienplatz, and has good reviews from people on this site. A double rooms with the toilet and shower on the hall (since you are on a budget) is €85. Traditionally, a double room has one king-sized bed, but they might also have Zwei Bett Zimmer (2BZ - rooms with two twin beds). Ask them. If they don't and this bothers you with your 14 yo son, they also have a 3BZ for €125 (still within your price range), and they might give you a discount with only 2 people since there is one less for the included breakfast.

Posted by
2288 posts

If you and/or your son have never been to London, you are seriously shortchanging it. I would take at least one day from Edinburgh and add to London. I'm sure you realize that you will lose at least 1/2 day every time you change locations. This is a great thing you're doing for your son.